Advocacy Panel (TAP)
Want to Improve the IRS?¨SPEAK
By Andrea Price, TAP member representing Ohio
The Taxpayer Advocacy Panel is comprised of civic-minded
citizen volunteers from all walks of life representing each
state, D.C., Puerto Rico and an international member
(citizens living, working or doing business abroad). TAP is
a Federal Advisory Committee whose mission is to listen to
taxpayers, identify taxpayers’ issues and make suggestions
for improving the IRS service and customer satisfaction.
Everyone has something to say about taxes and the IRS. Please take a
moment to give us your suggestions for TAP to consider by
contacting one of the following:
TAP Ohio member:
Call Toll-free at:1-888-912-1227
The Taxpayer First Act of 2019- A Big Win for Taxpayers
The Taxpayer First Act (HR 3151) protects taxpayers
from tax-related identity theft by expanding to all
taxpayers the ability to obtain an Identity Protection
Personal Identification Number (IP PIN), establishes an
independent office of appeals, includes provisions to exempt
low-income taxpayers from the IRS’ private debt collection
program and other measures to improve overall IRS customer
service. The bill was signed into law on July 1, 2019 and
was sponsored by Congressman John Lewis
[D-GA] and co-sponsored by Rep. Brad Wenstrup [R-OH-2].
Here are a few Highlights of the Act:
Comprehensive Customer Service Strategy
Within one year of enactment, the IRS is required to develop
and submit to Congress a comprehensive customer service
strategy. The strategy must address how the IRS intends to
provide assistance to taxpayers that is secure, designed to
meet reasonable taxpayer expectations, and that adopts
appropriate best practices of customer service provided in
the private sector, including online services, telephone
call back services, and training of employees providing
The strategy must also establish metrics and benchmarks for
measuring the IRS’ success in implementing this strategy.
Modernization of IRS Organization Structure
The Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 directed the
IRS Commissioner to restructure the IRS by eliminating or
substantially modifying the three-tier geographic structure
(national, regional, and district) and replacing it with an
organizational structure that features operating units
serving particular groups of taxpayers with similar needs.
Customer Service Information
This provision instructs the IRS to provide the following
information over the telephone, while taxpayers are on hold
with an IRS call center: information about common tax scams,
direction to the taxpayer on where and how to report such
activity, and tips on how to protect against identity theft
and tax scams.
Misdirected Tax Refunds
This provision directs the IRS to establish procedures for
taxpayers to report instances where they did not receive an
anticipated electronic fund transfer or a refund was
erroneously delivered to the wrong taxpayer, and also to
ensure the IRS will recover the erroneous refunds and
deliver them to the correct taxpayer.
Payment of Taxes by Debit and Credit Cards
Currently, the IRS cannot accept credit and debit card
payments for taxes directly due to a restriction on the
payment of fees charged by the card issuer. As a result, the
IRS must use a third-party processor to accept credit and
debit card payments.
This provision allows the IRS to directly accept credit and
debit card payments for taxes, provided that the fee is paid
by the taxpayer. The IRS is directed to seek to minimize
these fees when entering into contracts to process credit
and debit cards.
Notice Required before Revocation of Tax-Exempt Status
Charities and other nonprofits automatically lose their
tax-exempt status if they do not file annual information
returns for three consecutive years. Once revoked, the
organization must refile for exempt status.
This provision requires the IRS to notify an organization
after the organization’s second consecutive failure to file
an information return in order to give the organization time
to file an information return and prevent their tax-exempt
status from being revoked.
Internet Platform for Form 1099
The IRS is required to develop an internet portal that
facilitates taxpayers filing Forms 1099 with the IRS. The
internet portal is to be modeled after a Social Security
Administration (SSA) system that allows individuals to file
W-2 with SSA. The website will provide taxpayers with access
to resources and guidance provided by the IRS, and allow
taxpayers to prepare, file, and distribute Forms 1099, and
create and maintain taxpayer records.
Disclosures of Taxpayer Information
The Income Verification Express Service (IVES) is a program
run by the IRS, which is used to verify a taxpayer’s income.
The program is most often used when a taxpayer is applying
for a mortgage and the mortgage lender is seeking to verify
the taxpayer’s income.
This provision authorizes the IRS to develop an automated
system to receive these forms in lieu of the current system,
which relies on the forms to be sent to the IRS via secure
fax. Additionally, the provision authorizes the IRS to
charge a separate user fee over a two-year period on all
IVES requests to fund the development of the new system.
Single Point of Contact for Identity Theft
This provision establishes a single point of contact within
the IRS for any taxpayer who is a victim of identity theft.
The single point of contact will be responsible for tracking
the taxpayer’s case to completion and coordinating with
other units to resolve the taxpayer’s issues as quickly as
possible. This provision is intended to address concerns
over the lack of continuity of assistance when taxpayers are
victims of tax related identity theft.
Low Income Exceptions for Offer-in-Compromise
The IRS is authorized to enter into an offer-in-compromise (OIC)
agreement with a taxpayer to settle a tax debt at a lower
amount than what the taxpayer generally owes. Generally,
when proposing an OIC to the IRS, the taxpayer must pay an
application fee and provide an initial non-refundable
lump-sum payment. The IRS has the authority to waive these
payments. Typically, the IRS does not require taxpayers
certified as low-income, defined as those with incomes below
250% of the federal poverty level, to include the
application fee and initial payment.
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day
The Internal Revenue Service and its partners nationwide
remind taxpayers about the Earned Income Tax Credit on
Jan. 31, “EITC Awareness Day.” This is the 14th
year of the EITC awareness campaign that alerts millions of
workers to this significant tax credit.
Workers who can claim the EITC
Workers at risk for overlooking this important credit can
Living in non-traditional families, such as a
grandparent raising a grandchild
Whose earnings declined or whose marital or parental
With limited English language skills
Who are members of the armed forces
Living in rural areas
Who are Native Americans
With disabilities or who provide care for a disabled